April is overwhelming. The workload keeps stacking up,
the summer job hunt becomes too real, and there’s an on-campus concert every
weekend. Y2K Moshfest 2012 2014 2015 is tonight, Nochella is tomorrow, the KSPC
Hardcore Blowout is next weekend, and Kohoutek is the week after that. How are
we students possibly supposed to manage our time like this?
In between frantic résumé edits and cram sessions, it’s
understandably difficult to make it out to shows, let alone check out the
lineups beforehand. Fortunately, I’m here to help you get psyched (and
knowledgeable) about these shows. I made the tough choice to cover Nochella
this week over Moshfest, but make sure to get over to the Pitzer clock tower
tonight for a fantastic set of noisy garage stuff, featuring KSPC favorite (and
past Nochella act) The Lovely Bad Things.
With that out of the way, let’s get started with a run-through of the glorious lineup of Saturday’s Nochella Music Festival! [Full disclosure: I
was one of three people involved in making this event happen, but that only
makes my enthusiasm more genuine, right?]
Starting with the headliner, New York trio Crying
sound like absolutely nothing else out there. I know there’s been a lot of
fluff surrounding the past few years’ resurgence of interest in emo, but there’s nothing revivalist about
Crying. Hell, I’m not even sure they really fit the ’emo’ tag. Stapling together 8-bit synth leads, massive pop-punk power
chords and a nearly melodic sensibility, they’re the definition of a
hard sell on paper. But no matter. Come Saturday, they’ll require no words.
If you want to prepare, give a listen to last year’s reissue
Get Olde Second Wind for a primer in
catharsis. With their signing to scene
stalwart Run For Cover and recent single “Patriot” getting coverage on
everything from Stereogum to BrooklynVegan, their assault on the world has
already begun. Don’t miss out on the fun just because you started gagging when
I mentioned emo and 8-bit in the same line.
Moving down the lineup, every other act is from the great
city of Los Angeles, so show up early and support the local scene! Right after
the student and alumni acts will be Kera & The Lesbians, a self-described ‘bipolar folk’ group that specializes in woozy, herky-jerky groove.
Kera & The Lesbians have a recorded sound eerily similar to a few too many other
lo-fi L.A. acts (it makes sense, since they recorded their latest EP Year 23 with Lollipops Records’ Wyatt
Blair), but a quick look at their live videos will reveal that their goals are
a bit more heady than your usual vaguely surfy garage act. It’s ramshackle, not
sloppy, and that can make all the difference.
The next act, So Many Wizards, is a bit of a favorite on-campus,
having played here several times over the past few years. That is understandable,
as it is pretty satisfying to support pop stars just sitting in your backyard.
Sounding a bit like a potent mix of Local Natives and Arcade Fire, they’ve got
the reverb-fueled bombast thing down to a science.
After receiving a considerable amount of blog attention a
few years back, So Many Wizards’ hype died down when their output did, and that’s a shame.
Hopefully they’ll air out some new material and show us what’s hidden up those
Up next is Kevin Morby, the Babies frontman now in his new
solo project. Also known as the bassist for psychedelic pop wunderkinds Woods,
Morby’s certainly got a cohesive aesthetic, full of folky, lo-fi musings and
If you caught the Babies live on campus before and are a bit
worried about Morby’s solo work not measuring up, don’t be! He’s bringing along
a full backing band for the festival, and his 2014 record Still Life is a gorgeous distillation of the sound he’s been
working on for years, with an added dose of Bob Dylan. What more could you ask
for on a warm Saturday night?
Finally, right before Crying turns the volume to 11, we’ve
got sampladelic pop outfit TV Girl, a personal favorite. I am usually hesitant
about anything that could accurately be tagged as ‘indie pop,’ but TV Girl has it all figured out.
Between the chirpy samples, grooving basslines and breathy
lyrics about love lost (and sometimes won again), they are the kind of act you
just have to show your friends on
that long drive out to the beach. And then on the drive home. And every day
after that for a month. Earworms abound on their (free!) debut French Exit, so go check them out for
those endless summer vibes.
Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC, and his first concert was *NSYNC.